Monday, 25 October 2010

The King is dead-long live live the king

Since little Prince Willie Windsor's proposal to his long term girlfriend Katie or whatever her name is was announced earlier this week they have hardly been out of the news which amuses me in a sense. Don't get me wrong, I wish them every happiness which will be a huge ask given the fishbowl that they live in.

Living in a country where Willie's aging grandma is technically the head of state and where a large chunk of the population was born in the motherland (including my own mum I might add) there is always going to be some lingering interest and fascination in the goings on of the royals. Nowhere near as much as in the good old days when I was growing up and we all got a day off to stand on the side of the road and wave as some royal or another whipped past in a motorcade but a fair bit of sentimental interest remains all the same. Scratch the skin of many Kiwis (brown and white) and not too far back down the family tree the blood of Britannia flows.

I am sure that the sales of commemorative tea towels and mugs will go though the roof and we will get blow by blow speculative accounts on how the engagement and wedding will will pan out until the moment something different happens. Despite what my work mates might believe I am not champing at the bit to go online and order my china set or some teaspoons myself .

I can however imagine how mum and other ladies of her ilk are already getting excited about the prospect of sitting down in front of the tele early one morning sometime next year and watching the wedding of the century hugging a colour photo of the happy couple to their withered breasts as tears of joy run down their cheeks. Hopefully it doesn't clash with games in the rugby world cup because then there will be trouble in households around the country.

As you might have guessed I am pretty ambivalent about the wedding myself. I won't be getting excited about it. I also don't really care that a little old lady on the other side of the world is our technical head of state. I am also not at all concerned that the apparently loony Prince of Wales is next in line. I am sure that he is not a bad bloke really. Unfortunately he has inherited a bad habit of dropping the odd clanger and then there was the unfortunate marriage. Well who hasn't made the odd mistake in their lives?

What really amuses me is how our media - lets lump them all in together immediately seek to make capital of the immanent nuptials. It only seems a few weeks ago on a slow news day that the main news outlets were telling us that once the old girl goes good old godzone will immediately become a republic.

Despite what republicans would have us believe most of us don't really care about our form of government or that the Queen of England is our head of state. For years now we have appointed our own Governor Generals and our system of government seems to work ok for us.We are more concerned if we are concerned at all, that whatever their hue our politicians seem to think they are above the law and their partisanship in the face of economic and practical reality.

God help us if we became a republic and adopted a political model similar the that of the US or France-both dysfunctional and pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Long live the king!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Growing old disgracefully

A few weeks ago I bought a new bike after agonizing for weeks on how I could justify the expense. What did it for me was a trip to Christchurch in the aftermath of the earthquake. Although I know it intellectually, the fact that a major event beyond any one's ability to control had the ability to profoundly change people's lives and could happen at any time was reinforced by my trip.The earthquake had a profound and traumatic impact on people, even though most of them were not directly impacted by the event. It's not that I have suddenly become completely fatalistic and am going to spend, spend and spend with no thought for tomorrow. But I decided once and for all that there are things that I want to do while I am able because tomorrow I might not be able to, and riding my bike is one of these.

Enter a 2010 Husqvarna WR300. I am sure you will agree-a wonderfully sexy looking machine.

Unfortunately due to a little mishap with a slippery tree root or stump that I hit the wrong way towards the end of my first ride I haven't been riding for a few weeks and won't be back on the bike for a few weeks more. Maybe by the end of the month if all goes well.

The good news is that the bike is ok. The reflex action of sticking my knee out to save myself resulted in a severe strain or hyper extension. I am not really sure what happened but things got a big wrench and I knew I had done some damage to my already dodgy knee. While the swelling took a long time to go down it now looks as though things are settling down finally. While the physio I went to thought that I may have rooted one my cruciate ligaments my doctor thinks that it is ok. Well at least I haven't done any more damage to a knee that sooner or later will need reconditioning. Hopefully a visit to a surgeon this week will confirm that I don't need an immediate operation.

Until I saw my doctor a few days I thought I might have stuffed the knee properly and my brand new bike would be sitting in the garage for a while. To say that I was extremely frustrated was an understatement. Not only because I couldn't ride but because, especially in the first few days I couldn't do much for myself.

To make matters worse I haven't been able to sleep. I am a bit of a fidget so any time I rolled over in bed I would tweak my knee and wake up. And then wouldn't get back to sleep. For hours. To say that I have been grumpy is something of an understatement. This state of affairs was not helped by people at work making fun of me and my walking stick. For someone who considers himself to be more or less in his prime. Well ok in the autumn of his prime, being compared to a fractious stick waving old man was I thought pretty mean on their part and I wasn't happy about it.

For myself and she who must be obeyed the experience is an unhappy glimpse into a possible future where one us, well me probably is partially incapacitated and how much that that will impact on our quality of life. A quality of life that we take for granted.

I guess we'll have to deal with those cards as they are dealt and in the meantime I intend to age disgracefully.